Climate change affects health

You put the television or read the news and do not stop watching huge storms that flood towns and cities, displacing thousands of people. Parallel, forest fires are becoming more frequent and some lurk large population centers. Venice is flooded and thousands of kilometers away, a squalid polar bear balances on an ice floe since it has no food or icy terrain to walk. Global warming is a reality. And this week the COP 25 climate summit is held in Madrid.

More than 25,000 participants and dozens of heads of state, along with sound absences such as the president of Brazil, which is the country with the largest forest reserve in the world – the Amazon rainforest – or the American president, Donald Trump, known for his skepticism on these issues. Climate change is scientific evidence, although some, for unknown reasons or interests, insist on denying it.

Some public figures like Antonio Banderas, Pedro Almodóvar, athletes like Carolina Marín or musicians like Carlos Jean, among others, have recorded a video with the motto 'It's time to act' To try to raise awareness.

Can climate change affect our health? The answer is a resounding yes. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) and also the Ministry of Health have issued separate reports. Other countries have had similar initiatives and there are numerous articles in prestigious scientific journals that corroborate it.

Massive consumption of fossil fuels such as oil during the last 50 years has increased atmospheric CO2, along with other greenhouse gases. This has produced a progressive increase in temperatures, with the consequent increase in sea level and with meteorological phenomena that are increasingly frequent and intense.

Extreme heat waves themselves produce an increase in mortality. The last one that happened in Europe It is estimated that it produced an excess of deaths estimated at 70,000. Excess heat also implied an increase in the levels of ozone, pollen and other air pollutants with the consequent increase in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Disease increase

The number of natural disasters related to meteorology has tripled in recent years. It is estimated that they produce more than 60,000 deaths a year. There will be a great variability in rainfall with drought areas, where drinking water and flood zones will be scarce that will force large populations to move.

This it can produce an increase in diseases that are transmitted through water such as gastrointestinal infections, closely related to infant mortality. All these changes can end up affecting agriculture and the production of basic foods, with the consequent famines and accompanying malnutrition.

There will be an increase in infections such as malaria and other diseases such as dengue, which are transmitted through insects, such as mosquitoes. Geographical distribution and seasonal periods of these diseases may increase along with the temperature. Not to mention other diseases or disasters that we cannot even foresee today.

Become aware

As almost always, the consequences of this climate change It will mainly affect the most disadvantaged: children, especially in developing countries, the elderly or the sick with chronic diseases, populations with poor sanitary infrastructure, extreme climates and, sooner rather than later, also people living near coastal areas.

There are several options that we can take at the individual level to fight against climate change such as using public transport, walking or cycling to our work instead of using private transport, etc. States can carry out policies such as the use of sustainable energy such as solar or wind, thus reducing the emission of greenhouse gases with the consequent benefits for our planet and, consequently, for our future health and well-being.

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